“It wasn’t that I was proud of it,” the newly renamed Portia DeGeneres (nee de Rossi) tells Oprah in an interview airing Monday about her anorexia. “But it was certainly a recognition for my self control. I definitely had some pretty amazing willpower to get down to 82 pounds. And that’s what I was holding on to. I didn’t think about anything else.” It required dropping her food intake down to a frightening 300 calories — part of which she blames on feelings of depression while struggling to come to terms with her sexuality.
And in an interview with Australia’s Women’s Weekly, Portia says she “was around 90 pounds and I remember feeling very afraid of food every night” while playing Nell Porter on Ally McBeal. It was during her marriage to documentarian Mel Metcalfe in the late 90s where she began confronting the reality of being gay, which she dealt with by not eating.